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It was a holiday with a difference for a group of Cudgen Headland Nippers and their parents who recently got to demonstrate their skills and knowledge about water safety to an enthusiastic audience in Vietnam.

The 2015 Club of the Year is proud of its international links that date back over a decade to the first sister club arrangement with Phuket Lifeguard club, and their annual visits to Asia are eagerly anticipated within the club. Among the group of interested participants this winter were club president Adam Mills and his family.

Drowning is a major issue in Vietnam with young children being a group at significant risk. Conservative estimates put the number at about 32 drowning deaths a day across the nation, a truly alarming statistic to come to grips with, especially when seen through the perspective of Australia where beach awareness and safety is something drummed into young children from a very early age.

In 2015 Surf Life Saving Vietnam Development Officer David Field set up junior water safety programs in the South Central City of Nha Trang. Through his ties with Far North Coast Surf Life Saving, Cudgen SLSC offered to enter in a sister club relationship with the fledgling Nha Trang SLSC.

David and his wife, fellow trainer Susan Eke have been busy developing relationships with local communities throughout Vietnam and have helped train lifeguards to hopefully assist to lower the drowning toll.

"The tour has really promoted the lifesaving development project far more effectively than can be done with one lifesaving development officer,” said David Field.

“The next challenge for the project is to get local public authorities to accept the importance of education in promoting water safety and the role their lifeguard staff can play offering activities like Nippers over the summer.

“This is where the Cudgen tour has been so important to the Vietnam lifesaving development project. Locals can see the games and activities first hand and the skill the young Australians have in the water. We’ve also been very lucky to have the support of the Far North Coast for not only this project, but also ones we have in Thailand and the Philippines,” he concluded.

Cudgen Headland SLSC President Adam Mills said it was a memorable experience that those attending won’t forget.

He said the tour members have had a rewarding time with one of the highlights being a water safety activity for children with a disability.

As part of the 2016 tour, the young Nippers from Cudgen participated in a joint activities day with their Vietnamese counterparts. They also had the opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills gained from many hours spent on Kingscliff Beach with the famous Thung boats manned by local lifeguards putting in an appearance.


Tuesday 19 July 2016